DRGW History and Information  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Back in 1891, the Denver & Rio Grande built a small narrow gauge steam-driven pile driver numbered 0363. With the railroad upgrading its vast but hastily built narrow gauge network (totalling 965 miles by that year), clearly a machine to drive heavy bridge timbers would be in high demand. It's the only narrow gauge pile driver to survive from the Rio Grande, having been sold to the Cumbres & Toltec back in 1970 with much of the rest of the surviving MoW equipment. Some 118 years later - neglecting changes from a 1920 rebuild - we know that same pile driver today as D&RGW OB.

Starting in 1999, a group of Friends members here in Colorado Springs undertook a nine year restoration effort to bring OB back from its inoperable, derelict state. Success was met during the summer of 2008, when OB became operational for the first time in decades on a Friends special from Chama to Cumbres. Early in the 2009 season, the Friends announced another Maintenance-of-Way special, again starring OB. Given that I'd missed the 2008 special on account of some work trip, I was determined not to miss this one.

Even before the trip started, OB was acting up. Having been stored in Antonito, the railroad needed to haul it over to Chama for the charter. Apparently the move took place around 14-Jun-2009. Reports on the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum indicate that crews started having problems with one of the wheel bearings heating up around milepost 304 (near Sublette). So, ... (Continued)

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